Sam Wells (priest)

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Sam Wells
Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields
Sam Well Preaching.jpg
Wells preaching at Duke Chapel
ChurchChurch of England
Ordination1991 (deacon)
1992 (priest)
Personal details
SpouseJo Bailey Wells
ProfessionPriest, theologian
Alma materMerton College, Oxford
New College, Edinburgh
Durham University

Samuel Martin Bailey Wells is an English priest of the Church of England. Since 2012, he has been the vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields in central London,[1] and Visiting Professor of Christian Ethics at King’s College London.[2] In 2018, he was installed as Honorary Canon Theologian of Guildford Cathedral.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Wells studied at Merton College, Oxford, and graduated in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree; as per tradition, his BA was promoted to a Master of Arts (MA Oxon) degree. In 1988, he entered Edinburgh Theological College to train for ordination. During his time at theological college, he also studied theology at New College, University of Edinburgh, and graduated in 1991 with a Bachelor of Divinity (BD) degree. He later undertook post-graduate study at Durham University and completed his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in 1996.[4]

Ordained ministry[edit]

Ordained in 1991, he served Church of England parish appointments for 14 years in Newcastle, Cambridge and Norwich. He spent ten years of his ministry in areas of social disadvantage.[5] For six years he was involved in establishing a community-led development trust, called the North Earlham, Larkman and Marlpit Development Trust. [6] Wells was also involved in the 'Body, Mind and Spirit' project at St Elizabeth's Earlham, offering children opportunities to participate in creative play. [7]

Dean of Duke Chapel[edit]

In 2005, Wells became dean of Duke Chapel and research professor of Christian ethics at Duke Divinity School. He developed and chaired the Faith Council, which consists of 12 members from different faith traditions. He initiated dialogue and led discussions on faith and ethics.[8]

While acting as the Dean at Duke Chapel, Wells coordinated the ministry and music of the chapel, preached and led worship.[9] He also oversaw the campus ministries and taught in the divinity school and the school of public policy. He worked with the local Durham community through organizations such as the Religious Coalitions for a Non-Violent Durham to foster a closer relationship with the university and the city.[10]

Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields[edit]

Since 2012, Wells has been the vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields in central London.[1] He was inducted by Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, on 2 July 2012. As vicar, in addition to his pastoral ministry, Wells is a trustee of The Connection at St Martin's, [11] and of the St Martin-in-the-Fields Trust.[12] From 2014, he has been a regular contributor to Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4.[13]


  • Liturgy on the Edge: Pastoral and Attractional Worship (edited, Norwich: Canterbury 2018)
  • Who Is My Neighbour? The Global and Personal Challenge (edited, with Richard Carter, London: SPCK 2018)
  • Incarnational Mission: Being with the World (Grand Rapids and Norwich: Eerdmans and Canterbury 2018)
  • For Good: The Church and the Future of Welfare (with David Barclay and Russell Rook, Norwich: Canterbury 2017)
  • Incarnational Ministry: Being with the Church (Grand Rapids and Norwich: Eerdmans and Canterbury 2017)
  • Hanging by a Thread: The Questions of the Cross (Norwich: Canterbury 2016; New York: Church Publishing 2018)
  • Eucharistic Prayers (with Abigail Kocher, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 2016)
  • Joining the Angels’ Song: Eucharistic Prayers for Sundays and Holy Days, Years A, B & C (with Abigail Kocher, Norwich: Canterbury 2016)
  • How Then Shall We Live? Christian Engagement with Contemporary Issues (Norwich: Canterbury 2016 and New York: Church Publishing 2017)

In his review of How Then Shall We Live?, Walter Brueggemann wrote, ‘Sam Wells arguably has the liveliest, most agile, best informed, critically disciplined mind in the entire Christian community. And he has a baptized heart of honesty, compassion, and passion to match his baptized mind. In this book he ranges over a cluster of complex issues and at every turn his sound judgment instructs us as he moves easily from life to Scripture and back through church tradition. This book will serve many of us well who live with daily perplexities that admit no resolution.’ [14]

  • A Nazareth Manifesto: Being with God (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell 2015)
  • Shaping the Prayers of the People: The Art of Intercession (with Abigail Kocher, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2014)
  • Crafting Prayers for Public Worship: The Art of Intercession (Norwich: Canterbury, 2013)
  • Esther and Daniel: Brazos Commentary on the Bible (with George Sumner, Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos, 2013)
  • Learning to Dream Again: Rediscovering the Heart of God (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 2013; UK edition, with substantial alterations, Norwich: Canterbury 2013)
  • Be Not Afraid: Facing Fear with Faith (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos, 2011)
  • What Anglicans Believe: An Introduction (Norwich: SCM/Canterbury Press, 2011)
  • What Episcopalians Believe: An Introduction (Harrisburg, PA: Church Publishing Inc., 2011)
  • Living Without Enemies: Being Present in the Midst of Violence (with Marcia Owen; Downers Grove: IVP, 2011)
  • Christian Ethics: An Introductory Reader (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010)
  • Introducing Christian Ethics (with Ben Quash; Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010); second edition (with Ben Quash and Rebekah Eklund, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2017)
  • Liturgy Comes to Life (Durham, NC: Duke Chapel, 2010)
  • Living Out Loud (with Stanley Hauerwas; edited by Luke Bretherton, et al.; London: Paternoster, 2010)
  • Praying for England: Priestly Presence in Contemporary Culture (edited with Sarah Coakley; London and New York: Continuum, 2008)
  • Speaking the Truth: Preaching in a Pluralistic Culture (Nashville: Abingdon, 2008) Revised and expanded edition Speaking the Truth: Preaching in a Diverse Culture (Norwich: Canterbury 2018)
  • Power and Passion: Six Characters in Search of Resurrection (the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2007; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007)
  • God’s Companions: Reimagining Christian Ethics (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006)
  • The Blackwell Companion to Christian Ethics (edited with Stanley Hauerwas; Oxford, UK; *Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 2004; Second Edition, Revised and Expanded, 2011)
  • Improvisation: The Drama of Christian Ethics (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos; London: SPCK, 2004)
  • Community-Led Estate Regeneration and the Local Church (Cambridge: Grove Booklets, 2003)
  • Faithfulness and Fortitude: In Conversation with the Theological Ethics of Stanley Hauerwas (edited with Mark Thiessen Nation; Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 2000)
  • Transforming Fate into Destiny: The Theological Ethics of Stanley Hauerwas (Carlisle: Paternoster, 1998; reissued Eugene, Oregon: Cascade, 2004)


  1. ^ a b "Revd Dr Sam Wells". St Martin-in-the-Fields. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Revd Dr Sam Wells". Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  3. ^ "Twelve New Canons of Guildford Cathedral Installed". Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  4. ^ "Samuel Martin Bailey Wells". Crockford's Clerical Directory (online ed.). Church House Publishing. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  5. ^ "Samuel Wells to Become Dean of Duke Chapel". Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  6. ^ "NELM spending under the spotlight". Retrieved 22 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Godly Play Report". Retrieved 22 October 2018.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Duke Chapel Dean Sam Wells Named Vicar of St. Martin-in-the-Fields". Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  10. ^ Aronson, Frank Stasio, Isaac-Davy. "Living Without Enemies". Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  11. ^ "Our team-The Connection at St Martin's". Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  12. ^ "Support us". Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  13. ^ "Regular Contributors". Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  14. ^ "How then shall we live". Retrieved 23 October 2018.

External links[edit]